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1. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 56 > Issue: 2
Vadim V. Vasilyev Вадим Валерьевич Васильев
Metaphilosophy: History and Perspectives
Метафилософия: история и перспективы

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In this paper I discuss a prehistory of the recent metaphilosophical research and provide an overview of its most important areas. I review the ways of understanding of philosophy by the authors of the Early Modernity and contemporary continental philosophers and outline a trajectory of metaphilosophical discussions in analytic philosophy of 20th century. I try to show that the recent surge of metaphilosophy research in it could be explained by a search for a new identity of analytic philosophy after wide disappointment in the “linguistic turn,” as well as after criticism of Quine and his followers of various aspects of the common method of conceptual analysis, and expansion of the field of inquiry. I argue that contemporary analytic philosophy is much closer to the classical and modern tradition than to the early analytic philosophy. And the most important question for contemporary metaphilosophers seems to be a question about possible substitutes of an old-fashioned conceptual analysis. Some authors propose to get rid of armchair methods at all and follow experimental line of research. This, however, could be destructive to the philosophy as a separate discipline. That’s why it is important to pay utmost attention to those philosophers who try to save armchair philosophy. As Timothy Williamson is one of the most interesting authors working in this vein, I asses his role in the recent metaphilosophical research. I give a brief review of his book “Doing Philosophy” (2018) and draw attention to the fact that its main ideas are briefly expressed in his paper “Armchair Philosophy”, published in this issue of the journal. I claim that the importance of Timothy Williamson’s work is best explained by its role in realizing that philosophers now have to make a hard choice between dissolving philosophical methodology in methods of experimental sciences and trying to find way of justification of armchair philosophy.
panel discussion
2. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 56 > Issue: 2
Timothy Williamson Тимоти Уильямсон
Armchair Philosophy
Кабинетная философия

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The article presents an anti-exceptionalist view of philosophical methodology, on which it is much closer to the methodology of other disciplines than many philosophers like to think. Like mathematics, it is a science, but not a natural science. Its methods are notprimarily experimental, though it can draw on the results of natural science. Likefoundational mathematics, its methods are abductive as well as deductive. As in the natural sciences, much progress in philosophy consists in the construction of better models rather than in the discovery of new laws. We should not worry about whether philosophy is a priori or a posteriori, because the distinction is epistemologically superficial.
3. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 56 > Issue: 2
Daniel C. Dennett Дэниел Деннет
Philosophy or Auto-Anthropology?
Философия или ауто-антропология?

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Timothy Williamson is mainly right, I think. He defends armchair philosophy as a variety of armchair science, like mathematics, or computer modeling in evolutionary theory, economics, statistics, and I agree that this is precisely what philosophy is, at its best: working out the assumptions and implications of any serious body of thought, helping everyone formulate the best questions to ask, and then leaving the empirical work to the other sciences. Philosophy – at its best – is to other inquiries roughly as theoretical physics is to experimental physics. You can do it in the armchair, but you need to know a lot about the phenomena with which the inquiry deals.
4. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 56 > Issue: 2
Joshua Knobe Джошуа Ноуб
Philosophical Intuitions Are Surprisingly Robust Across Demographic Differences
Философские интуиции на удивление устойчивы к демографическим различиям

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Within the existing metaphilosophical literature on experimental philosophy, a great deal of attention has been devoted to the claim that there are large differences in philosophical intuitions between people of different demographic groups. Some philosophers argue that this claim has important metaphilosophical implications; others argue that it does not. However, the actual empirical work within experimental philosophy seems to point to a very different sort of metaphilosophical question. Specifically, what the actual empirical work suggests is that intuitions are surprisingly robust across demographic groups. Prior to empirical study, it seemed plausible that unexpected patterns of intuition found in one demographic group would not emerge in other demographic groups. Yet, again and again, empirical work obtains the opposite result: that unexpected patterns found in one demographic group actually emerge also in other demographic groups. I cite 30 studies that find this sort of robustness. I then argue that to the extent that metaphilosophical work is to engage with the actual findings from experimental philosophy, it needs to explore the implications of the surprising robustness of philosophical intuitions across demographic differences.
5. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 56 > Issue: 2
Daniel Stoljar Дэниел Столджар
Williamson on Laws and Progress in Philosophy
Уильямсон о законах и прогрессе в философии

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Williamson rejects the stereotype that there is progress in science but none in philosophy on the grounds (a) that it assumes that in science progress consists in the discovery of universal laws and (b) that this assumption is false, since in both science and philosophy progress consists at least sometimes in the development of better models. I argue that the assumption is false for a more general reason as well: that progress in both science and philosophy consists in the provision of better information about dependency structures.
6. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 56 > Issue: 2
Anton V. Kuznetsov Антон Викторович Кузнецов
Armchair Science and Armchair Philosophy
Кабинетная наука и кабинетная философия

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Williamson defends armchair philosophy by likening it to armchair science – they have the same echelon of results and use such a priori methods as model building and conditional analyses. More, if a priori methods are accepted within science, then they acceptable in philosophy – thus, armchair philosophy is justified. However, I am not swayed by this reasoning: there could be non-armchair philosophers who use these a priori methods. So, there are two options – revise the notion of armchair philosophy or add more details to the aforementioned reasoning.
7. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 56 > Issue: 2
Timothy Williamson Тимоти Уильямсон
Reply to Dennett, Knobe, Kuznetsov, and Stoljar on Philosophical Methodology
Ответ оппонентам по поводу философской методологии

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The paper replies to replies by Dennett, Knobe, Kuznetsov, and Stoljar to the author’s ‘Armchair Philosophy’.
8. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 56 > Issue: 2
Vadim V. Vasilyev Вадим Валерьевич Васильев
Afterword to the Panel Discussion on Armchair Philosophy
Послесловие к панельной дискуссии о кабинетной философии

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In this paper I discuss Timothy Williamson’s panel paper “Armchair Philosophy”, the objections of the participants of the panel discussion and other possible reactions to it. The correspondence of the content of Williamson’s paper to the main themes of his book “Doing Philosophy” is shown, as well as the greater emphasis of his paper on the method of model building, upon which he bases his hope for the future of armchair philosophy. The analysis of the responses to the paper by Williamson received from Daniel Stoljar, Joshua Knobe, Daniel Dennett, and Anton Kuznetsov shows, however, that the version of the armchair philosophy proposed by Williamson does not raise much objections among principal opponents of the armchair approach and thus does not promote an a priori methodology that this kind of philosophy is supposed to defend and promote. More effective defense would require the use of a conceptual analysis that promises getting a priori or conceptual truths. Williamson, however, doubts the prospects for productive conceptual analysis. Nevertheless, the author of this afterword tries to show that the traditional conceptual analysis can be improved and that it is possible that such an improved analysis would perform its function of promoting the radical armchair philosophy much more effectively. Instead of clarifying some more or less interesting concepts conceptual analysis might aim at clarifying our natural beliefs, such as belief in causal dependance of ordinary events, in independent existence of the objects of our experience, in identity of some objects, in other minds, etc. In the process of such a clarifying we can also try to understand some non-trivial relations between our natural beliefs. The author provides an example of such an analysis, resulting in getting a truth which has all the marks of necessary conceptual truth, claiming there are a lot of similar truths to be found.
epistemology and cognition
9. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 56 > Issue: 2
Axel Gelfert Аксель Гелферт
Beyond The ‘Null Setting’: The Method of Cases in the Epistemology of Testimony
За пределами «нулевой настройки»

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Epistemologists of testimony have tended to construct highly stylized (so-called “null setting”) examples in support of their respective philosophical positions, the paradigmatic case being the casual request for directions from a random stranger. The present paper analyzes the use of such examples in the early controversy between reductionists and anti-reductionists about testimonial justification. The controversy concerned, on the one hand, the source of whatever epistemic justification our testimony-based beliefs might have, and, on the other hand, the phenomenology of testimonial acceptance and rejection. As it turns out, appeal to “null setting” cases did not resolve, but instead deepened, the theoretical disputes between reductionists and anti-reductionists. This, it is suggested, is because interpreters ‘fill in’ missing details in ways that reflect their own peculiarities in perspective, experience, upbringing, and philosophical outlook. In response, two remedial strategies have been pursued in recent years: First, we could invert the usual strategy and turn to formal contexts, rather than informal settings, as the paradigmatic scenarios for any prospective epistemology of testimony. Second, instead of “null setting” scenarios, we can focus on richly described cases that either include, or are embedded into, sufficient contextual information to allow for educated judgments concerning the reliability and trustworthiness of the testimony and testifiers involved. The prospects of both of these approaches are then discussed and evaluated.
10. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 56 > Issue: 2
Dustin Olson Дастин Олсон
Epistemic Progress Despite Systematic Disagreement
Эпистемический прогресс вопреки систематическим разногласиям

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A number of philosophers argue that because of its history of systematic disagreement, philosophy has made little to no epistemic progress – especially in comparison to the hard sciences. One argument for this conclusion contends that the best explanation for systematic disagreement in philosophy is that at least some, potentially all, philosophers are unreliable. Since we do not know who is reliable, we have reason to conclude that we ourselves are probably unreliable. Evidence of one’s potential unreliability in a domain purportedly defeats any first-order support one has for any judgments in that domain. This paper defends philosophy. First, accepting that science is rightfully treated as the benchmark of epistemic progress, I contend that a proper conception of epistemic progress highlights that philosophy and science are relevantly similar in terms of such progress. Secondly, even granting that systematic disagreement is a mark of unreliability and that it does characterize philosophy, this paper further argues that evidence of unreliability is insufficient for meta-level, domain-wide, defeat of philosophical judgments more generally.